2023-2024 Seminars

Art and the Brain: Neurologic Disorders in Famous Artists

Art, creativity, neurology, and psychiatry may appear as divergent disciplines, but their relations within brain function are a common feature. Reciprocally, art explores new ideas, metaphors, and conceptions that contribute to the ways we understand the brain, ourselves, and our world.

Disorders of the brain, including epilepsy, psychosis, depression, dementia, stroke and many others alter our ability to perceive, conceive, imagine, move, speak, sense, and emote in many ways. The creative process involves the highest levels of cognition and integrated brain function, implicating the frontal cortex, language areas, memory and learning areas of the brain and many others.
Clinicians often observe these alterations in their daily work, yet the interaction between biological changes and the artistic expressions associated, and how these can inform us about our humanity, remains poorly understood and seldom explored.
Artists like Van Gogh, Dostoevsky, Edgar Allan Poe, Apollinaire, Flaubert, Beethoven, Handel, Ravel, Maupassant, Dazai, and many others suffered neurologic and neuropsychiatric events that significantly altered/contributed to their creativity and artwork. Through readings and explorations of their art, we will examine and discuss how the various neurologic and neuropsychiatric disorders of famous artists is associated with their art, and how art has contributed to the development of neurology and medicine.
Our main goal is to foster creative innovative interdisciplinary conversations and destigmatize brain disorders.

Conveners and attendees will read chapters from the 4-book series entitled “Neurologic Disorders in Famous Artists” and examine the primary work of famous artists during monthly seminars. Furthermore, participants will explore the connections between these subjects in an open discussion. Belger and Roth will guide the brain discussions and faculty from the Art, Art History and Comparative Literature fields will lead and curate the artists’ work.”


Aysenil Belger, Psychiatry; Psychology  aysenil.belger@unc.edu
Heidi Roth, Neurology
Natasha Parikh, Music; Psychology/Neuroscience
Inger Brodey, English & Comparative Literature
Christoph M. Brachmann, Art History
Nancy Clayton, Psychiatry
Patricia Parker, Ruel W. Tyson Distinguished Professor of Humanities
Ariel Felding, Director of Communications, Ackland Art Museum
David Garcia, Ethnomusicology

Bring on the Heat: Charting a Course through Perimenopause Based on the Latest Science

Perimenopause is the final transition in the female reproductive lifespan and is characterized by menstrual cycle irregularity, hot flashes and night sweats, and increased susceptibility to depression, anxiety, weight gain, and cardiovascular disease. Perimenopause symptoms are disabling, costing Americans $1.8 billion in lost working time per year. Despite these costs, perimenopause has been historically understudied, leaving many mid-life people without adequate medical support or resources. Researchers representing a variety of disciplines, including psychiatry, gynecology, exercise science, nutrition, and nursing, will bridge disciplinary boundaries and contribute to rich academic discourse by hosting a series of topical community forums focused on their new and in-progress research related to perimenopause. Each session will provide a forum for the exchange of information between scholars, perimenopausal people, and the larger university community. Topics will focus on signs and symptoms of perimenopause, and evidence-based prevention and treatment options, and will be relevant to perimenopausal people, including women, non-binary folks, and transmen with intact ovaries. Seminar conveners will engage the community in discussion and request feedback following each session to develop new, community-based, collaborative research projects focusing on patient-centered care and perimenopause health.


Crystal Schiller, Medicine  crystal_schiller@med.unc.edu

Care to Share NC: An Academic-Community Partnership to Promote Child Welfare 

The CTS is a Carolina Seminar that brings together faculty from UNC-CH and UNC Greensboro along with community partners to address issues that matter most to children, youth, families and the institutions that serve them.  CTS events are open to scholars and community members across the triangle and triad regardless of discipline and organizational affiliation. To learn more about Care-to-Share NC, contact us at ctsnc@unc.edu or visit our website to learn about upcoming events (https://tarheels.live/caretoshare).


Andrea Hussong, Psychology and Neuroscience  hussong@unc.edu

Carolina Climate Change Scientists

Understanding the impacts of climate change on natural and human systems requires interdisciplinary research approaches.  We are a group of 40 faculty and educators across 14 departments at UNC Chapel Hill that began meeting in 2011 to facilitate interdisciplinary climate change research. We meet monthly for brief research presentations and discussions.


Jason West, Environmental Sciences and Engineering jjwest@email.unc.edu
John Bruno, Biology

Carolina Seminar on Educational Inequality

The Carolina Seminar on Educational Inequality brings together scholars from Economics, Education, Policy, and Sociology to study the ways in which schools, families, or broader social forces are to blame for educational inequality and whether and under what conditions specific educational policies reduce, or increase, inequality.

Website: https://sites.google.com/view/edinequalityseminar/home


Thurston Domina, School of Education  tdomina@unc.edu
Jane Cooley Fruehwirth, Economics
Steven Hemelt, Public Policy
Simona Goldin, Public Policy
Douglas Lauen, Public Policy

Carolina Seminar on Innovation for the Public Good

The Carolina Seminar on Innovation for the Public Good will play a catalytic role in amplifying the mission of Carolina by providing an educational pathway for our faculty and students to explore modern change-making and practice the skills necessary to contribute toward meaningful change in the world. Participants will explore evidence and promising based creative problem-solving approaches and early, team-oriented, customer/community discovery methods to develop solutions that address pressing human concerns.


Daniel Gitterman, Public Policy  danielg@email.unc.edu 
Melissa Carrier, Public Policy
Liz Chen, Gillings School of Public Health

Carolina Seminar on Middle East Studies

The seminar offers two forums for current research in Middle East Studies: 1) graduate students make presentations on their dissertation research, and 2) faculty members lead a discussion of reading on the state of the field from the perspective of their discipline.


Claudia Yaghoobi, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies yaghoobi@email.unc.edu
Shai Tamari,  Director of the Center of Middle East and Islamic Studies

Carolina Seminar on Philosophy, Ethics and Mental Health


Daniel Moseley, Psychiatry  daniel.mosely@med.unc.edu
Arlene Davis, Social Medicine
Eric Juengst, Social Medicine and Genetics

Carolina Seminar on Russia and Its Empires

The seminar brings together scholars interested in Russia and the Russian / Soviet space. Because the Piedmont boasts a high concentration of interdisciplinary scholars in Russia, Eurasia, and Eastern European Studies, including a large number of outstanding graduate students, this seminar gives the area’s universities and scholars the time and place to share their research as they are in the process of writing. Conducted basically as a workshop, it offers the particular benefit of giving participants the opportunity to cross disciplinary boundaries while they are still in the middle of their projects. In addition, one or two scholars from outside the region are invited to present work-in-progress that overlaps with that of area scholars.


Eren Tasar, UNC-CH, History  etasar@email.unc.edu

Carolina Seminar on Transnational and Global Modern History

Transnational and Global Modern History seminar is rooted in the comparative and connected study of the history of modern empires and its critics, “decolonization”, and the history of movement between and amongst various territorial entities in the modern era. It will explore the transnational study of the ideas and cultures that constituted and transcended national contexts, fashioning global political cultures and intellectual exchanges.


Cemil Aydin, History caydin@email.unc.edu
Susan Pennybacker, History

Cartography, Chorography, and Literary Landscapes

This seminar provides a venue for interdisciplinary conversation relating to the theory and practice of cartography and landscape description in a range of historical contexts. Bringing together faculty and graduate students with different methodological perspectives – archaeological, philological, geographical, and historical – the seminar examines the history and potential of mapping as a process of giving shape to the world, especially in its multi-temporal dimensions. We are interested in the relationship between space and text in historical geographies, as well as in the relationship between historical cartographic and chorographic methodologies and their modern digital counterparts. The aim of the seminar is to foster faculty and graduate student research through the ongoing interdisciplinary exchange, particularly in connection with the Spatial Antiquities Lab, an emerging spatial humanities hub at UNC that will house vertically and horizontally integrated research projects that leverage digital mapping methods for historical projects.


Janet Downie, Classics jdowie@email.unc.edu
Tim Shea, Classics
John Pickles, Geography
Javier Arce-Nazario, Geography

Central Asia Working Group

The Central Asia Working Group, an interdisciplinary work group seeks to build on growing interest across campus in the societies of Russian Central Asia–and neighboring regions such as Afghanistan, the Caucasus, Chinese Inner Asia, Mongolia, Pakistan, and southern Russia–from an interdisciplinary perspective. Its purpose is to provide a forum for scholars, graduate students, and undergraduates at UNC, and in the surrounding area, to explore and stay abreast of new avenues of research in the study of Central Asia.


Eren Tasar, History etasar@email.unc.edu
Waleed Ziad, Religious Studies
Rustin Zarkar, UNC Libraries
Erica Johnson, Global Studies

Critical Game Studies

The Critical Game Studies seminar will bring together faculty from UNC-CH, Duke, and King’s College London to investigate the study of games, video games, and gamification. This seminar would provide a platform for growing the scope and reach of game studies research at UNC by supporting transdisciplinary experiments in game studies that integrate humanistic scholarly inquiry with critical design practice. Participants will investigate a range of theoretical and methodological concerns. For example: How do formations of race, class, and gender shape—and are shaped by—games? To what extent do games demand interdisciplinary frameworks for analysis? Can learning to use game design technologies illuminate broader issues within media history and digital literacy? And, what opportunities do games and play afford for experimental research projects?


Steve Gotzler, English and Comparative Literature  sgotzler@unc.edu
Gaspard Pelurson, Culture, Media & Creative Industries, Kings College London,

Decolonization in the Global South

We investigate self-determination, territorial sovereignty, and mass politics in societies emerging from empires in the second half of the 20th century. Constrained by global capitalism and civil strife, independence struggles waged across the global south bequeathed an ambiguous legacy still with us today.


Christian C. Lentz, Geography  cclentz@email.unc.edu
Townsend Middleton, Anthropology
Fadi Bardawil, Duke University

First Friday Microbiome Seminars: Microbiome Research Across Disciplines and Its Impact on Health and the Environment

The First Friday Microbiome Seminars connect microbiome researchers engaged in studies of complex microbial populations that are important to human and animal health and plant and environmental studies. Microbiome research feeds on diverse fields including microbiology, biology, engineering, and biomedical sciences.


M. Andrea Azcarate-Peril, Center for Gastrointestinal Biology and Disease azcarate@med.unc.edu
Apoena Ribeiro, School of Dentistry

Formal And Quantitative Seminar: FAQS

The seminar will focus on cutting-edge research in the fields of applied statistics, data science, and formal modeling in the social sciences. Formal modeling offers rigorous tools to study the implications of strategic interactions between actors, generating testable insights that are grounded in formal logic. These insights span a wide range of substantive areas, including labor market discrimination, international relations (e.g., wars and sanctions), optimal environmental treaties, political polarization, and social movements. Critically, formal modeling can inform a more principled use of data, which, in turn, can validate or falsify the formal models. This symbiotic relationship underlies the dual emphasis of the seminar on formal theory and quantitative methods. Talks that focus on statistical developments offer participants a window into newly developed probabilistic models and experimental designs tailored to address questions in the social sciences — from generalizing survey data to a population of interest to address issues of data missing not-at-random. By focusing on methods and models, in addition to substantive areas, the seminar will have a broad appeal, offering relevant content for upper-level undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff, and other scholars, across disciplines in the social sciences. In the past, our speakers have drawn audiences from Economics, Bio-statistics, Political Science, Sociology, and Public Policy.


Mehdi Shadmehr, Public Policy mshadmehr@unc.edu
Santiago Olivella, Political Science

French History and Culture

This seminar hosts lively discussions of new scholarship in all areas of French history, culture, literary studies, and art history, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary research. Topics of recent and/or frequent discussion include French social movements and their legacies, the French empire, and French-American intellectual exchanges, among other subjects.


Ellen Welch,  Romance Studies erwelch@email.unc.edu
Michael Garval, NC State University

Global Indigeneity and American Indian Studies

This seminar provides a forum for faculty, students, and visitors engaged in American Indian and Indigenous Studies to discuss critical issues, hear presentations, and read and critique one another’s work. These interdisciplinary collaborations often include but are not limited to individuals in the fields of American Studies, Anthropology, Archaeology, Education, English, History, Law, Religious Studies, and Romance Studies.


Daniel Cobb, American Studies   dcobb@unc.edu

Marissa Carmi, Associate Director of the American Indian Center

Higher Ed Working Group

The Higher Ed Working Group will consider challenges currently facing colleges and universities. We will focus on issues of access and success, the growing disconnection between universities and the public at large, and the nature of regulation by university governing bodies.


William Snider, UNC Neuroscience Center  wsnider@med.unc.edu
Buck Goldstein, School of Education
Suzanne Barbour, Biochemistry & Biophysics
Tori Ekstrand, School of Journalism
Eric Johnson, UNC System Office

Humanities, Data and Technology Collective

During the Spring semester of 2023, a group of over 90 faculty, graduate students, and librarians formed a Humanities, Data, and Technology (HDT) interest group. This group came together to explore the intersections of technology and humanistic inquiry with a focus on the increasing role of data in society. Data shapes nearly all aspects of human life. For example, legislation, policing, banking, communication, access to health care, and information-sharing are now influenced by data and algorithms, among many other things. This shift to the centrality of data has often come at the expense of thinking deeply about questions of ethics, social justice, and equity – the driving force behind humanities and humanistic social sciences. HDT was formed to center humanistic inquiry in the construction, analysis, and use of data to understand the societal repercussions of data-driven decisions.
As an outgrowth of HDT, this seminar would provide a venue for humanists interested in data studies to collectivize, acquire training in digital tools and data-informed methodologies, and engage with scholarship at the intersection of humanities and data. While many humanists talk about their evidence as material, objects, and texts, there is a growing awareness that such evidence is now mediated through data and digital technologies. To this end, there is a desire among humanists to gain the skills needed to make use of new potentials and understand possible pitfalls (Posner, 2015). Through a series of presentations that explore ethical implications of data use, new digital technologies used to present and analyze traditional humanities evidence, best practices in digital pedagogies, and innovative approaches to artistic expression, seminar participants will grapple with how technology and data are impacting what it means to research and teach in the humanities. In so doing, our meetings will provide a means for faculty, staff, and graduate students interested in the intersection of humanities, data, and technology to support and learn from one another.


Amanda Henley amanda.hendley@unc.edu

If, Then: Computation and Poetics

This seminar brings together a diverse group of faculty, staff, and graduate students for regular meetings to understand and engage the potential and practice of analyzing texts using natural language processing for inquiry, research, and teaching in the humanities and social sciences.


Daniel Anderson, English & Comparative Literature  iamdan@unc.edu

Carly Schnitzler, English & Comparative Literature

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, UMass Boston University

Labor and Working-Class History

This seminar primarily focuses upon the history of working-class people in the Americas. More specifically, it examines the changing nature of work in relation to the economy and state policy; class, race, gender, sexuality, and cultural formations among workers; and efforts to organize unions and other class-based social movements.


Erik Gellman, History  egellman@unc.edu
Katherine Turk, History
Nancy MacLean, Duke University

Land Back Abolition Project Seminar

Our university was built on and later profited from the sale of near and distant Native lands, from the labor of people who were enslaved, and through the sale of enslaved labor. Now we inhabit a complex space that is also home to immigrants from all over the world, who labor at and attend the university. As students, faculty, and staff at this institution, we have a responsibility to engage with this history and how it shapes our current relationships to one another, to our North Carolina community, and to ongoing global and local impacts that are connected to this history: from gentrification at home to research abroad. In this Carolina Seminar, we seek to build on the work of our new Land Back Abolition Project and convene interested faculty, staff, and students to study how to best do the work of repair in a university context. We intend to read and bring speakers in Black and Indigenous Studies, with a specific focus on the intersections and solidarity between these fields, on land-based education and research, and on Land Back and Abolition movements. We bridge Indigenous principles of land-as-pedagogy and Black Geographies practices connecting land and liberation.


Sara Smith, Geography shsmith1@email.unc.edu  

M.E. Taylor Analysis and PDE Seminar

The M. E. Taylor Analysis and PDE Seminar is named after retired Professor Michael E. Taylor, a central member of the University of North Carolina’s Department of Mathematics and Analysis Group for over 35 years. The Taylor Seminar strengthens and broadens the current expertise of the UNC Analysis Group in fundamental questions for partial differential equations including: the statistics of sets where quantum particles are least likely to exist via the study of point-wise bounds, Lp norms, averages, and two-point Weyl Laws for Laplace eigenfunctions, scattering, geometric control and observability questions for Schrodinger and wave equations, which govern the motion of small particles under external influences, global behavior of solutions to quasilinear and linear wave equations including Einstein’s equations of general relativity and those describing the behavior of light rays near black holes, the dynamics, stability, and numerical modeling of special solutions for nonlinear evolution equations arising in statistical mechanics, optics, quantum mechanics, and fluids, the existence and regularity of solutions to fully nonlinear equations, such as the Lagrangian mean curvature equations, and fourth-order elliptic partial differential equations, which arise naturally in Lagrangian geometry and mirror symmetry, and the development and subsequent study of dispersive and parabolic equations for Cosserat continua describing the motion of novel viscoelastic rods (such as DNA), and elastic surfaces (such as crack fronts).


Casey Rodriguez, Mathematics  crodrig@email.unc.edu 


The Aim of Mathematical Biology seminar series is to bring together researchers at UNC and the greater triangle area working on a wide range of biological phenomena, using a variety of experimental and modeling techniques. Collectively, we aim to move from conceptual models in biology to physics-based mathematical models. Philosophically and practically, we emphasize integrating simulation and experimental tools across different length, scales and timescales. Some emergent research directions include self-organization and compartmentalization, mass, momentum, and energy transport, and reading, storing, and writing information in living systems. The seminars are held monthly, between October to May. Each seminar typically includes two speakers.


Ehssan Nazockdast, Applied Physical Sciences ehssan@unc.edu
Amy Maddox, Biology akshaub@email.unc.edu

Membrane Trafficking: From Mechanism to Disease

Membrane trafficking is a basic biological process that underlies the complex internal membrane architecture that is a hallmark of eukaryotic cell biology. This area has received renewed focus in recent years as it is becoming clearer that dysregulation of membrane trafficking is linked to diseases ranging from cancer to neurodegeneration. However, understanding the etiology of diseases linked to membrane processes is a monumental task, requiring an understanding of the biophysics of lipid bilayers, the mechanism of proteins that bend and shape membranes, and the systems-level networks that regulate the exchange of vesicles between a dozen or more distinct cellular compartments. As such, there is a dire need for an interdisciplinary effort to tackle this important question in cell biology. The proposed Carolina Seminar series, titled “Membrane Trafficking: from Mechanism to Disease”, is an effort to bring together scientists across campus and from diverse fields, but with a focus on interfacial processes at membranes. The co-organizers represent a diverse set of research interests and technical expertise. The Baker lab uses biophysical and structural techniques to understand the allosteric consequences of membrane binding by peripheral membrane proteins. The Gladfelter lab uses state-of-the-art imaging to study membrane curvature sensation and membrane-less organelles. The Bear lab studies actin-based motility and its role in the onset and progression of cancer. More broadly, there is a vibrant research community at UNC focusing on membrane-based processes, from theoretical modeling of lipid bilayers to proteomics and systems biology of mitochondrial diseases. We aim to bring these scientists together to stimulate conversations around the biggest and most important questions in the field of membrane biology and membrane trafficking. In particular, we aim to connect those studying basic mechanisms of membrane biology in silico and in vitro, with those who have a more direct focus on human disease.


Rick Baker, Biochemistry & Biophysics  baker@med.unc.edu
Jim Bear, Cell Biology & Physiology
Amy Gladfelter, Biology

Moral Economies of Medicine Working Group

The pursuit of the Moral Economies of Medicine is to investigate the problem of how to create new, critical conversations about global health that may bridge the liberal arts-professional divide both in terms of scholarship and pedagogy.


Jocelyn Chua, Anthropology  jlchua@email.unc.edu
Michele Rivkin-Fish, Anthropology
Aalyia Sadruddin, Anthropology
Barry Saunders, Social Medicine

Navigating the Future of Big Time College Sports

This seminar will build on an interdisciplinary symposium planned by a group of UNC and Duke faculty (planned for October, 2023) on the urgent and topical subject of the “Critical Study of Big-Time College Sport.” Both the symposium, funded by a Duke University Intellectual Community Planning Grant, and the Carolina seminar will facilitate timely cross-disciplinary and inter-institutional conversation around a host of pressing issues in the rapidly evolving landscape of big-time college athletics. A non-exhaustive list of topics would include: the continued viability of the NCAA, the legal challenges to amateurism and the traditional compensation model codified by the grant-in-aid of the 1950s, the forms of racial and gender exploitation still afflicting the system, conference realignment and the increasing travel demands placed on students, financial sustainability at the school and conference level, the outsize influence of television, the integrity of the educations received by college athletes, and coaches’ salaries and the accelerating professionalization of all aspects of college sport–with the exception of the athletes themselves, tethered to what the NCAA likes to call the “collegiate model” of athletics. The conveners of the seminar are particularly excited to bring together experts from a variety of disciplines–economics, anthropology, history, gender studies, global studies, exercise and sport science, philosophy–and to facilitate analysis and thoughtful comparison of two institutions connected forever by a sporting rivalry but separated by issues of scale, forms of accountability (i. e., public vs. private), and institutional culture. Moreover, we intend to foster dialogue across the “iron curtain” that too often separates athletics officials from academics and the world of scholarship. The respective faculty athletics committees of the two institutions will also be kept apprised of all events and invited to join in our discussions. Although the Duke-UNC relationship will be central to most of our discussions, we also plan to invite faculty from other nearby institutions–N. C. Central, N. C. State, Wake Forest, and other places–to enrich our discussions and share the insights generated within the setting of the seminar.


NC German Studies Seminar and Workshop Series (NCGS)

The North Carolina German Studies Seminar and Workshop Series (NCGS) was started in 2007 by an interdisciplinary and inter-institutional group of scholars in the Research Triangle of North Carolina because the state of North Carolina possesses an incredibly rich and impressive roster of scholars working in German Studies and Central European History. It is home to nationally and internationally recognized graduate programs in these fields. Its colleges and universities have incredibly successful undergraduate programs responsible for producing highly proficient speakers and thinkers of Germanic languages, histories, and cultures. In order to strengthen the bonds between all these precious assets, the North Carolina German Studies Seminar and Workshop Series seeks to foster interdisciplinary and inter-institutional intellectual exchange about new and innovative research among students, scholars, and the wider community at both public and private institutions of higher learning.



Karen Hagemann, History  hagemann@unc.edu
Konrad Jarausch, History
Priscilla Layne, Germanic and Slavic LL
A. Dirk Moses, History
Terence V. McIntosh, History
Jakob Norberg, Duke University
Andrea Sinn, Elon University
Teresa Walch, UNC-Greensboro

New Directions in Film Studies

This seminar will create an opportunity to build upon recent hires in Film Studies by creating a forum for cross-campus discussions about the state of the field. Watching films in a darkened room with an audience of strangers, once the norm for our experiences in the cinema, has now become a rare occurrence, yet our engagement with moving images is more common than ever. As the field has grown, scholarship has become increasingly interdisciplinary and diverse, allowing us to revisit old questions, like how films make meaning through visual forms, and entertain new ones, like considering how AI technologies disrupt how we perceive the relationship between the camera and the worlds it depicts. In addition, as film production has increasingly welcomed diverse voices in front of and behind the camera, scholars have been able to explore film’s historical relationship to whiteness, coloniality, and capitalism, while also seeking to understand how these systems have been and can be disrupted.


Martin Johnson, English and Comparative Literature  mlj@email.unc.edu

North Carolina Jewish Studies Seminar

The North Carolina Jewish Studies Seminar offers a stimulating and exciting forum for academic engagement on Jewish history, culture, and religion.   Since its inception in 2001 under the name Duke-UNC Jewish Studies Seminar, the seminar has brought together faculty, graduate students, and internationally renowned scholars to discuss cutting-edge work in Jewish Studies.  Meetings are held monthly, and papers are distributed in advance for all to read.  The Seminar is a collaborative partnership of Duke, NC State, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Wake Forest, with participants coming from universities and colleges across North Carolina.  Closely coordinated with the NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill public lecture series in Jewish Studies, the seminar enriches the scholarly climate in the area and strengthens the Jewish Studies programs in the local universities.


Ruth von Bernuth, Germanic Languages  rvb@email.unc.edu
Malachi Hacohen, Duke University
Verena Kasper-Marienberg, NC State University

Race and Affect Workshop

The Race and Affect Workshop (RAW) will develop an intellectual community at UNC and beyond for faculty, graduate students, and advanced undergraduates (juniors and seniors) engaged in research and creative practices at the intersection of race and affect studies. We define race to include related concepts like ethnicity, nationality, indigeneity, and immigrant status. We define affect studies to include the study of affect, emotions, intimacy, and interpersonal relationships. A main goal of the workshop is to develop fluency in a variety of approaches to studying affect and race, including approaches drawn from the humanities, social science, and natural science. Additionally, RAW would welcome scholars who are interested in other vectors of power, such as gender, class, sexuality, and religion, along with race, in their study of affect. RAW would consist of three components: monthly workshops where faculty and students share their work-in-progress, semesterly invited speakers who give a public lecture, and occasional creative events such as screenings, listening sessions, etc. that educates the public on the role of affect and race in everyday life. The Workshop would partner with other units across campus and beyond to put on events to create an even greater network of race and affect scholars.


Antonia Randolph, American Studies antonia.randolph@unc.edu

Religion and Theory Reading Group

This group brings together area faculty, graduate students, visiting scholars, and others to discuss important new texts in religious studies and recent critical theory. It aims to foster multidisciplinary and critical engagement with the role of religion in contemporary cultural politics.


Randall Styers, Religious Studies  rstyers@unc.edu

Jessica Boon, Religious Studies


Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice

Worldwide, reproductive health, rights, and justice are shaped by cultural norms and values and multiple social institutions, including medicine, public health, religion, politics, and law. As such, these issues provide a compelling focus of inquiry for scholars from a wide range of academic disciplines. With leadership from co-convenors across four UNC schools, this seminar will provide an interdisciplinary forum for students and faculty from diverse fields and career stages to come together around shared interests in reproductive health, reproductive rights, and reproductive justice. Seminar members will present works-in-progress, engage in critical discussion of contemporary scholarship, and foster discussion across disciplinary divides.


Mara Buchbinder,  mara_buchbinder@med.unc.edu
Amy Bryant, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Maxine Eichner, UNC Law
Rebecca Kreitzer, Public Policy
Keely Muscatell, UNC Psychology & Neuroscience
Ilene Spencer, Maternal and Child Health


Science meets society at the intersection between precision medicine and justice, equity, and inclusion

This interdisciplinary and interprofessional seminar examines the fields of genomic medicine and precision health through the lens of justice. The ethical, legal and social implications of both fields have received widespread attention in recent years, but one perspective on these implications has been under-developed to date: the challenges that these new fields face in attempting to meet the demands of equity and fair representation in their research and clinical endeavors. Both fields need to describe the human populations they address and attempt to serve: how should they do that in ways that do not exacerbate existing social inequities. How can different marginalized groups be fairly included in their research efforts? How can equitable access to their services be assured?
We propose a series of seminars (3 per semester) designed to examine the social and clinical challenges raised by advances in precision health and genomic medicine. Each topic will be selected to highlight the intersection between a specific scientific or clinical advancement with the implications for justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. In some cases, the seminar will be designed for two speakers to provide converging perspectives on the same topic, while in other cases we will utilize a single speaker with panel discussion format to explore a variety of perspectives. In each seminar the goal will be to encourage interdisciplinary dialog, identify societal challenges and/or potential disparities raised by technological innovation, and develop actionable


Jonathon Berg  jonathon_berg@med.unc.edu


Southeast Asian Approaches

Situated between China and India, Southeast Asia sits at a crossroads of ancient and ongoing global commerce, cultural flows, and political influences. Via informal conversations, a speaker series, and cultural events, this seminar aims to lend visibility to the importance and interdisciplinary of Southeast Asian studies.


Krupal Amin, Asian American Center
Lorraine Aragon, Anthropology
Becky Butler, Linguistics; Carolina Asia Center becky.butler@unc.edu
Kevin Fogg, Carolina Asia Center
Angel Hsu, Public Policy
Noah Kittner, Public Health
Holning Lau, Law
Christian Lentz, Geography
Margaret Weiner, Anthropology

The STEMM Education Research Collaborative

We are a group of education researchers who hope to build a community across disciplines (including Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Medicine – STEMM). We would like to invite you to join us in creating a community of researchers at Carolina focusing on higher education scholarship – from undergraduate to graduate to postdoctoral education and training; to med education; to STEMM pipeline and admissions evaluations; to faculty training and development of the academic research enterprise; to classroom-based, lab-course, and teaching scholarship; and beyond. We hope we have defined this group broadly to encompass faculty, staff, and other scholars across campus who engage in education research. We propose to build connections and collaborations, encourage opportunities for interdisciplinary approaches to educational scholarship, and increase visibility of the outstanding research at UNC.


Fei Chen fei_chen@med.unc.edu

Rebekah Layton rlayton@med.unc.edu


Towards a Liberatory “Global”: Building Anti-Racist, Feminist, and Decolonial Understanding of the Global

Can there be a concept of globality that is anti-racist, decolonized and decolonizing, and feminist? Or, is the global too linked to patriarchal, colonial, and Eurocentric epistemic and institutional histories and assumptions to ever be liberatory? In the recent scholarship on racism, the concept of the global has received significant critical attention and scholars have analyzed white supremacy as a global system of domination. Critical race scholar, Dylan Rodriguez, in his book White Supremacy (2017), has put this very bluntly, arguing that “The Global is very much a racialized concept, as are many of the imaginaries that underpin and go with them.” Rodriguez does not only argue that the global is a racialized concept but also approaches white supremacy as “a global sociopolitical imagination and changing historical apparatus of human dominance.” Decolonial scholars, such as Arturo Escobar, have called for understanding global coloniality today while leading scholarship to move away from Eurocentrism and singular, universal ideas of global design. Instead, decolonial thought recognizes a plurality of perspectives and ontologies and foregrounds marginalized/subalternized subjects and spaces, including indigenous communities. Earlier, feminist scholar Carla Freeman (2001) has shown how the global is often associated with the masculine while the local with feminine, thereby reinforcing gendered inequalities in labor relations and material livelihoods, as well as impacting how we study globalization. These important critiques underline the urgent need to rethink the global from anti-racist, feminist, and decolonial perspectives and to analyze how white supremacy, sexism, and colonialism shape international or global institutions, practices, and concepts and how the interlinked structures and processes of globalization depend on, reproduce, and deepen racism, sexism, and other colonial systems of difference. Such an engagement with the global is necessary not only for building this critical understanding but also for reclaiming its liberatory potential for drawing linkages between seemingly distant and distinct places and movements and supporting the work of building solidarity across the world. This Carolina Seminar is structured around the problem of the global as a racialized, masculinist, and colonial concept and asks both if and how the global can be decolonized and rethought as a liberatory concept. We aim to produce an understanding of racism, sexism, and colonialism globally while training faculty and students to recognize the markers of Eurocentrism, white supremacy, and patriarchy in certain core tenets and methodologies of the interdisciplinary scholarship on globalization and global issues. Our goal is to collectively build anti-racist, decolonial, and feminist knowledge of the global that will reshape how we do our research, how we work interdisciplinary as well as how and what we teach. We propose to facilitate dialogue and collaboration between faculty and graduate students from different disciplines, including Geography, Anthropology, Gender Studies, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, and African, African American, and Diaspora Studies for rethinking the global as an anti-racist, feminist, and decolonial concept and perspective.


Banu Gokariksel, Geography, banug@email.unc.edu
Angela Stuesse, Anthropology
Michal Osterweil, Global Studies
Yousuf Al-Bulushi, University of California – Irvine

Triangle Early American History Seminar (TEAHS)

This seminar is a group of early American historians from multiple North Carolina colleges and universities who meet to discuss pre-circulated papers. The Triangle Early American History seminar is on the cutting edge of early American History scholarship. The group pushes the geographic boundaries of the field to include regions far beyond the original United States, spanning both North America and Latin America, recognizing that early modern peoples saw the region as overlapping localities. Major themes include race, gender, and empire.


Kathleen DuVal, UNC-CH, History duval@unc.edu

Megan Cherry, NC State University

Juliana Barr, Duke University

Triangle Health Economics Workshop

The Triangle Health Economics Workshop (THEW) is a multi-departmental seminar series organized by faculty in the Departments of Health Policy and Management, Economics, and Public Policy at UNC. Held approximately bi-weekly during the academic year, the seminar brings together health economists from across the Triangle to discuss current research by invited speakers in economics, medicine, and public health.

website: http://thew.web.unc.edu/


Justin Trogdon, Health Policy and Management  trogdonj@email.unc.edu
Donna Gilleskie, Economics

Triangle Intellectual History

The Triangle Intellectual History Seminar brings together the Triangle area’s exceptional concentration of historians who practice intellectual history or who work in closely related fields such as literature and the history of science. This seminar focuses on new trends in global intellectual history, discusses papers by graduate students as well as area faculty colleagues, and invites guest presenters from outside North Carolina. Participants offer diverse perspectives on innovative works in progress and explore the connections between social contexts and ideas.


Lloyd Kramer, History  lkramer@email.unc.edu
Dirk Moses, History
Susan Pennybacker, History
James Chappel, Duke University
Nimi Bassiri, Duke University
Malachi Hacohen, Duke University
Anthony LaVopa, North Carolina State University
Noah Strote, North Carolina State University
Steven Vincent, North Carolina State University
David Weinstein, Wake Forest University

UNC Criminal Justice and Health Working Group

The Criminal Justice and Health Working Group (CJHWG) engages a wide range of topics at the intersection of the criminal justice system and health. Our membership includes faculty, staff, and students from multiple disciplines, departments, and institutions as well as participants from the surrounding community. Most seminars feature a research presentation followed by a group discussion. We also promote networking and collaboration on criminal justice/health-focused research projects.


David Rosen, School of Medicine; Gillings School of Global Public Health drosen@med.unc.edu

UNC-Duke Global Mental Health Seminar: In Search of the Social Cure

The SARS Cov-2 pandemic (Covid) has reframed our relationship to work, education, family life, and public health. In addition to the 5 million lives lost, Covid has taken a monumental toll on emotional wellbeing and daily functioning around the globe. The US Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, says our country is experiencing an “epidemic of loneliness” (Murthy, 2020). In the US, health workers are reporting unprecedented levels of burnout (Wiesman & Baker, 2022). Young people report high rates of depressive symptoms (Benton et al., 2021), a factor only worsened by isolation induced by Covid restrictions (Jones et al., 2021). Suicidality is at its highest level since World War 2 (Garnett MF et al., 2022) and death by opioid overdose has doubled in the past two years (CDC, 2022). Yet, this historical moment could also help us craft new ways of building health and society. We could use this as a wake-up call to remind us that social connection is intrinsic to being human. Indeed, the field of global mental health has long acknowledged that common mental disorders are as much a symptom of social isolation as they are neurobiology. In low- and middle-income settings (LMIC), mental health care looks rather different from how we tend to view it in the US. We think about therapy as individual sessions, in a quiet room, with highly-trained providers. Or, more often, we imagine starting pricey prescription medication and hoping our co-payments aren’t intolerable. Newer models in LMIC are gaining traction and an evidence-based. Group-based therapy under a tree helps war-torn areas heal. Community health workers squeeze in sessions to capture dead time while a patient waits in a clinic queue. Women Peers or neighborhood grandmothers sit down for informal chats on benches. Families who have left their homes to escape civil conflict share a series of meals with a community facilitator, who offers skills for how to cope together. These are all examples our convening team has worked on for the past two decades. We have learned vividly how in moments of constrained resources, our colleagues have identified new ways of working that are less costly and have promising results. We aim to frame this seminar series around the idea of “reciprocal innovation” – the notion that LMIC and US research partnerships can jointly address health challenges arising in both settings (Sors et al., 2022). We aim to uncover innovative, sustainable solutions and frame a discussion about how these might apply to underserved North Carolina communities. This seminar will bridge interdisciplinary boundaries of psychology, sociology, epidemiology, neuroscience, and implementation science. It will enrich the academic discourse around post-Covid strategies in ways that will improve North Carolina but also deepen existing global connections in sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia.


Abigail Hatcher, Gillings School of Global Public Health  abbeymae@email.unc.edu

Joanna (Asia) Maselko, Epidemiology

Eve Puffer, Duke University; Duke Global Health Institute

Working Group in Feminism and History

This seminar includes historians based at Triangle universities who meet to discuss gender-related topics that cut across regional and temporal specializations.


Kathleen DuVal, History  duval@email.unc.edu

Lisa Lindsay, History

Katherine Turk, History

Jocelyn Olcott, Duke University